Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Big Meeting

Last night there was a big meeting at the Sierra Nevada House. My Care Group was officially formed. It has been named LoCo Care. The name itself deserves some explanation. My riding group, Velo LoCo is so named Velo (which is a cycling term for well, cycling) Lo for Lotus and Co for Coloma. It is a reasonable play on words because we are pretty crazy.

My care group is using a model created by an organization called Share the Care . It was pretty amazing. Share the Care recommends that a care group consist of 12-25 people if you can swing that many. In this blog I have often talked about how amazing my community is, but this meeting spoke volumes about that; there were about 100 people at that meeting! these were all folks that had stepped up and said that they want to help in some way. I am truly honored and amazed at the outpouring of support.

Adam (my group leader who I will intoduce formally soon) asked me to speak to everyone at the meeting. His wife Adrienne, (whom i will also speak of soon) aptly managed all the meeting details. To the assembled group I read these words:

Thanks for choosing to be here. Before I start I want you to look around the room at all the faces… As you do, make a mental list of all the adventures you have shared with so many of these people, your neighbors, your community. Think of all the river trips, bike rides, climbs, trips to the ski hill; peak experiences, you have shared with so many of these folks. We have shared some really good times and some
really good adventures.
A couple of months ago, I took my girls Child One and Child Two out for their first Mountain bike ride out at Cronin Ranch. They are both new to bike riding and the trail we were going to ride would to be a big challenge for them. So to prepare them I started talking about the differences between an adventure and an epic. I explained that all adventures have some bad things that happen and some good things. And that an epic is when the bad outweighs the good. I explained that there is no way to know ahead of time whether you are about to start an epic or an adventure. All you can do is be ready for as much as you can, and deal with the bad as it comes and try to make good out of the trip.
Well, about half way through the ride Child One crashed her bike hard. She cut her face and skinned her knees. We were more than half way through the loop trail. We had her bike, and Child Two's trail-a-bike attached to my bike. My hip and collar bone were already bad at that point so carrying her out represented a difficult option. She wanted to go back, but I explained to her that going forward would get us done sooner. Child One climbed back on her bike and, sobbing, rode slowly away down the single track. Pretty quickly we came upon a horse that she got to pet. Soon after that we saw an adult friend of hers that I had never met. And before we knew it we were all having a good time. The end of the loop was a big up hill for her and she rode it with strength and determination. At the end we clearly had had an adventure.

My family and I are facing a big adventure. We are all facing a big adventure. It is called life. I did not choose this illness that faces me. I clearly don’t want this illness but the fact is I’ve got it and I am faced with the choice of having an epic, or an
adventure. I choose to have an adventure. I think of a quote from John Wesley Powell for those of you who don’t know, He is the leader of the first expedition to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1875.

"We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not. Ah, well! We may conjecture many things... With some eagerness, and some anxiety, and some misgiving, we enter the canyon below, and are carried along by the swift water.”

I stand before you to humbly invite you, my friends, family and community to
the extent that you are able and desirous to come with me on this adventure
as my team. I can promise you that it will be difficult. There will be suffering. I
can also promise you that like any other good adventure, you will grow. The pay will be nothing. But at the end, you will feel the satisfaction of having accomplished something big and worth being proud of. And I can promise you will have my undying gratitude.
Thanks, me

I did not have the strength to stay for the whole meeting. Seth took me home and we watched the Tour of California on VS. I am really glad to be able to watch it on TV even though the coverage is horrendous. Two years ago KD and I were at that same finish line in Santa Rosa to watch JJ Haedo take the sprint. At the time we had never heard of him until then. Yesterday he pulled a repeat. I have had several offers to go down and watch today's finish. Unfortunately, I am just not up to it. Just another item in a long list of stuff you have to give up in order to be a cancer patient.

So, dear readers, I have a humble request. If you are out there watching the Tour of CA please send me pictures. My e mail addy is spencedoggie at gmail dot com. Please include yourself if you'd like. I'll post the best pics here on the blog. Bonus points will be awarded for a picture of you mooning Mario Cippolini.


There are truly too many names to list here and my brain will not remember all of them.


Paul said...

Hi Spencer,
I am so, so lame. I just tried to leave a comment, and instead I e-mailed your post to you. (if I got your e-mail right)
I wanted to say I MISS YOU! and my prayers and all my love are with you.
Amy Flynn

Annie B. said...

What an amazing idea( to have a care-team) and a beautiful speech. I am sending you Love from the edge. AB

bikesgonewild said...

...a heartfelt wow, senor sorelegs...i had to take a day & read your post several times over...

...it is a wonderful thing to know so many family, friends & community folks are there for you...says a lot about the kind of guy you are...

...i know there may be a time when you won't feel much like posting, but please have the chickenhawk keep us at least minimally informed cuz we'll (the 'we' that have never met you or each other) be watching the site & sending love & good thoughts to you & your whole team...

...by the way, one of these days i'll have to meet you & family so i don't have to call you 'sorelegs & chickenhawk' but we'll wait 'til the time is right...

...stay PRO, bud...

Sorelegs said...

Thanks BGW...
The Coloma Lotus Valley is a really amazing place. The fact that so many folks showed up really says a lot about the community. This could have happened to any one of my riding buddies (heaven forbid)and the response would be the same.
I am already thiniking about contingency plans as for what to do when/ if I am TEMPORARILY not up to posting. Truth be told I would have posted while I was in the hospital the other day but they would not allow a laptop and did not have wireless network to hit anyways. I am thinking about getting some sort of PDA to allow for mobile blog posting.
I really want to leave the blog a pure reflection of how i am feeling rather than a tally of the suffer-fest if you know what I mean.
We will work out an alternative status update system at some point so that my team can keep the rest of the team in the loop. We'll make that public soon enough. I think...
Either way I am doing a hell of a lot better than I was a week ago when I was lying on the couch with a 104 temp and the c-hawk squaking about a trip to the ER. Coach Tori and Doc KT were on the job that night.
60 mg of MS-Contin and an frequent massages are working wonders for the bulk of the pain. Not to mention the Anti-biotics.
BTW still no word on the lastest pathology report. Hopefully any day now.
I'll tell ya, the time will be right... I am thinking we'll go for a nice puddin' style ride at some point my friend.
Thanks for the words, Thanks for reading.

Sorelegs said...

You can call me Spencer or Spence, all my friends do.

bikesgonewild said...

...spencer, i'll be brief...i look forward to that ride...

...you're really only a few hours away, so, your turf, your time...